THE IMPORTANCE
OF WETLANDS

Richest in nature and vital to human well-being

Wetlands are arteries and veins of the landscape. Even they cover a little percentage of the surface they are source of health and richness. Wetlands provide us with fresh water, they guarantee the supply of food and help to maintain biodiversity. Wetlands also help us prepare for, cope with and bounce back from the impacts of climate change, and represent the livelihood of hundred millions of people around the world. Fisheries, aquiculture, rice crops, the collection of oil and medicinal plants or even tourism depend, to a greater or lesser degree, on wetlands.

Despite its importance the Ramsar Convention finds that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. The increase of agrarian uses, grazing, infraestructure development, or air and water pollution are the main drivers of this loss.

And this trend is growing. The destruction of wetlands has accelerated since 2000 and currently it is estimated that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests, especially in Asia.

The benefits of wetlands are undeniable. Wetlands not only recharge aquifers watering billions of people, but are indispensable for our society and for our planet as providers of ecosystem services:

Cleaning water. Wetlands act as a treatment plant, filtering harmful waste. The sediments, plants and marine species absorb some pollutants coming from pesticides, industry and mining activities, including heavy metals and toxins.

Flood control.  Grasslands, rivers, lakes and swamps function like sponges, absorbing and   storing excess rainfall and reducing flood surges. During dry seasons in arid climates, wetlands release stored water, delaying the onset of droughts and minimizing water shortages.

Carbon sinks. Wetlands naturally absorb and store carbon, Peatlands, mangroves, and seagrass store vast amounts of carbon. Peatlands cover about 3% of our planet’s land and store approximately 30% of all landbased carbon–twice the amount than all the world’s forests combined. Wetlands are the most effective carbon sinks on Earth. However, when they are burned or drained for agriculture uses, they become carbon emitters. The CO2 emissions from fires, drainage and exploitation of peatlands are equivalent to 10% of all annual fossil fuel emissions.

Enhancing biodiversity. Wetlands host more tan 100.000 fresh water species, and this figure increases continuously. Between 1999 and 2009 among 257 new fish species were described in the Amazonas. Moreover, wetltands are essential for many amphibians and reptiles and also for the migration and breeding of birds.

Organizado por :

 

Con el apoyo de:

Fundación Global Nature

Sostenibles por Naturaleza

Desde 1993 dedicados a la conservación de la naturaleza y la funcionalidad de los ecosistemas